Archive from December, 2014
29 Dec
2014
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Bush And Rubio Constitutionally Barred From Running On The Same Ticket

by Brian M.

 

Two of the most talked about presidential hopefuls are Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, both of Florida, which is a crucial swing state. Many would love to see them on the same ticket in 2016. Here is one reason why they probably won’t be:

United States Constitution Article II section 1 states, “The Electors shall meet in their respective State, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves.” (emphasis added).

Therefore, Bush and Rubio cannot be on the same ticket and expect to receive the unified electoral vote of their crucial home state.

Of course, there is an easy fix. One of them could become an Inhabitant of a different state. In this case, because Rubio is a sitting senator and Bush is a former governor, Bush is the more likely of the two to change his residency. Not to mention, his former-presidents father and brother live in Texas along with his son (all named George), and the family vacation compound is in Kennebunkport, Maine. So, he has options.
It would just be unusual for the former governor of a state to be voting for himself for president in a different state.
There’s your constitutional conundrum for the day, both presented and solved. Enjoy.
24 Dec
2014
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The Other Christmas Miracle

By C.T.

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It is a fact that is frequently overlooked and one that is often taken for granted; that America almost never was. Our country may have never been but for the stormy Christmas night of 1776. If not for this other Christmas miracle, our nation would not be here today. At the time, the Revolution was going poorly with defeats piling up and limited victories. Morale in the Continental Army and across the colonies was low, and success was looking more unlikely by the day.

1776 was a tumultuous year for our fledgling nation. There were the highs of forcing the British to evacuate Boston and our formal Declaration of Independence; and there was absolute low of being driven from Long Island and New York City. The Continental Army barely escaped. After fleeing from New York, the army was pushed across New Jersey and forced across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. Our ability to beat the British militarily was very much in doubt. It was from this position of weakness that General George Washington knew he had to be bold to infuse new life into his army and save our cause.

Washington knew he needed to act before the new year since many militia enlistments were due to expire. At his winter headquarters in Pennsylvania, Washington received intelligence reports of a Hessian encampment in Trenton, New Jersey. He decided on a daring plan to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night and take the Hessians by surprise the following morning. Washington hoped a victory here would be the spark needed to save his army and the cause.

Washington’s plan was to begin crossing the river at nightfall; complete the crossing by midnight; and attack the Hessians just before dawn. Washington would cross the river at McKonkey’s Ferry with the main body of 2,400 troops and 18 cannons. Two smaller forces were slated to cross at other points on the river. Under the best circumstances, a river crossing, night march, and surprise attack would be extremely difficult for Washington’s ill equipped army. Christmas night 1776 brought the added challenge of a harsh winter storm. Washington’s plan hit an immediate snag when many of the soldiers did not arrive to cross the river until well after dark. On top of this delay, the crossing itself was slowed by the ice choked river. As the crossing progressed, the weather proceeded to deteriorate. The boatmen were hampered by strong currents, winds and a blinding combination of rain, sleet, and snow. These conditions forced the two smaller forces to scrap their crossing and caused Washington to question continuing with his, but he was committed to seeing it through. Three hours behind schedule the crossing was completed at 3 A.M. Despite the conditions of the crossing, once on the New Jersey side of the Delaware, the army assembled and performed flawlessly. By 8 A.M., the army had reached Trenton, and the attack began. The Hessians were caught by surprise, and the Patriots achieved a resounding victory. In the attack, Washington’s army suffered only nine casualties while inflicting 120 and capturing over 1,000 Hessians. This victory instilled new confidence in the army and its commander.

While Washington crossing the Delaware and subsequently winning the battle of Trenton did not win the Revolution outright, it did save our cause. The bold maneuver to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776 brought an invaluable morale boost to our Army and news of our victories restored hope to Patriots nationwide. It would take five more years to finally defeat the British at Yorktown, but we wouldn’t have gotten that far if Washington hadn’t made it across the Delaware on Christmas night. Having to overcome severe weather and logistical nightmares to make it happen, the crossing was nothing short of a miracle. This Christmas (and every Christmas) it is important to remember how close our country was to losing it all, and the sacrifices that were made to make us a nation.

15 Dec
2014
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The CRomnibus Is Not Good, But There Is Hope For Change in 2015

by Brian M.

Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill this weekend over the objections of many conservatives and liberals. It is not a good bill, but not because of the reasons liberals offer. It is also not quite the disaster that conservatives think it is. The bottom line is that taxpayers should not be excited by this bill, but they have reason to be optimistic about the future.

First, according to conservatives, the CRomnibus is bad because it temporarily funds the president’s priorities, including his unconstitutional and unilateral immigration action. They rightly argue that no matter what you think about the merits of the President’s policy, as an American, you should be outraged that the President is legislating from the White House, ignoring the system of checks and balances established by our founders. This bill temporarily (until February 27, 2015) allows this policy to proceed.

It is also bad because conservatives rightly point out that it is a pork-laden $1.1 trillion monstrosity when we are already $18 trillion in debt, without accounting for tens of trillions in unfunded liabilities.

Finally, Republicans campaigned against bills, like this one, that are 1,600 pages long, give piles of favors to special interests, and need to be passed to see what’s in them. This appears to fly directly in the face of those promises, and that is bad for taxpayers.

Not only do conservatives dislike this bill, liberal Democrats also oppose it. But, they oppose it for two nonsensical, purely-cosmetic reasons.

First, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, liberals lit their hair on fire because of the elimination of the so-called “derivative push-out” provision of the Dodd-Frank Act. This is a red herring, a virtual non-issue. It previously passed the House with almost 300 votes, and former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke said that it was difficult to implement and did not ensure the security of our financial system. It has almost no real effect on derivatives trading, which is legitimately used not only by big banks, but also by small banks and agricultural businesses and others to hedge commodity-related risk. It simply requires banks to perform these trades through spin-off companies that are not federally insured. To the extent that losses were insured in the past, those losses were recouped by the government in short order. Despite its relative insignificance, it was seized upon as a lighting rod by liberal Democrats claiming that it will lead to future “bail-outs” of Wall Street banks – a purely political statement to raise the profile of Sen. Warren as she weighs a potential presidential bid.

Second, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others lamented a campaign finance reform provision that increased donation limits to political parties – a provision crafted by Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s lawyer, Marc Elias. In reality, the provision shifts the costs of party conventions from tax payers to private donors. But, the left is seizing on this provision to claim that billionaires are hijacking our democracy. Again, this is a purely political and cosmetic contention.

Now for a bit of good news for the American people.

First, the next government-wide funding process will take place in 2015 when (ostensibly) fiscally conservative Republicans will hold majorities in both houses of Congress. They will have the votes needed to make some much-needed reforms to our bloated federal spending patterns.

Second, in February, the Republican Congress will have the opportunity to stand up to counter the president’s unilateral immigration action when the continuing resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security expires.

The CRomnibus is far from ideal. But, it is not the “hand out” to banks and big donors that Democrats claim that it is. It does, however, provide an opportunity for Republicans to flex their fiscally conservative muscles when they draft the next round of spending bills in 2015.

3 Dec
2014
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A RESPONSE TO BENJAMIN WATSON

The post below is written by NYYRC Member Dwayne Madison, in response to  New Orleans Saints player Benjamin Watson’s Facebook post regarding the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson. You can read Waston’s original article here: http://tinyurl.com/oq9sd4u

Dear Benjamin Watson,

While on the train home to my parent’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving, I came across your thoughtful comments on the Ferguson situation. Well done! You blasted out of the sky two ridiculous stereotypes. The first is the “dumb jock” label since your post is better than most seasoned journalists. The second is that Americans are too sensitive to have a mature discussion about race. With that, I too want to help prove them wrong and respond. Your fan, Dwayne.

I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.
I’M ALSO ANGRY because this is a never ending cycle. Despite progress over several decades, I am convinced that too many politicians, media pundits, and community leaders thrive on these unfortunate incidents. For these people have a lot to lose if we achieve a truly color blind society and, thus, will make every attempt to prevent MLK’s dream from becoming a reality.

I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.
I’M ALSO FRUSTRATED because the media and pop culture promote degeneracy and mock decency. People who live honorable, productive lives, regardless of their race, are labeled as sell-outs, old-fashioned, and not cool or hip.

I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.
I’M ALSO FEARFUL because I know that despite my life’s actions that prove that I am nowhere near a racist, all it takes is for one person to accuse me of such and I will instantly be considered guilty by many no matter what contrary evidence is presented.

I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.
I’M ALSO EMBARRASSED that so called educated and professional people give unwarranted attention to people whose only motive is to make the situation worse.

I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.
I’M ALSO SAD because this unfortunate incident has been used to open old wounds. I’m sad because I know based on my own interactions with people from various racial backgrounds that most, almost all, want to achieve a color blind society. I’m sad because another incident will happen again. Why, because the few among us that have a lot to lose if we do move beyond will make every effort to make sure the sequels continue.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.
I’M ALSO SYMPATHETIC because I do not know what it is like to have been told my entire life that I have no hope. I have never been preached to by a community leader that no matter how big my effort or how I go about my life, I will never have a chance because a certain group of people are out to get me. If that did happened to me, I cannot say that I would not respond in an overly emotional way and be driven to riot, how would I know any better?

I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.
I’M ALSO OFFENDED not just because of those comments that you mention, but also because of the sacrifices and efforts made by millions of people of all backgrounds to improve relations and promote diversity only to hear agitators comment that if any progress has been made, it is hardly noticeable and that America will always be a rotten, racist, nation.

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.
I’M ALSO CONFUSED because I do not understand why some community leaders and media types abuse their power. While not a loaded gun, a microphone or megaphone can also do significant damage and make a bad situation worse.

I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.
I’M ALSO INTROSPECTIVE because my immediate, hard-coded conclusion was that there was almost no chance that the police officer was at fault. But, that was not a realistic assumption nor did I consider my own unpleasant interactions with law enforcement officials.

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.
I’M ALSO HOPELESS because while I am not an old man, I have lived long enough to know that these incidents will continue. Too many people want them to continue. If I decide to have children, there will be some in academia and the media that will tell them that they are by default a racist simply by being born white.

I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.
I’M ALSO HOPEFUL because despite the ugly scenes that I see play out on TV and read about on the internet, I do not witness that often in real life. I have come across several calm, throughout responses such as yours, which helps a great deal!

I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”
I’M ALSO ENCOURAGED because I read your post!

Dwayne Madison: dwaynemadison1266@yahoo.com. Dwayne lives in Manhattan. He loves sports, has never acted in a play, has never auditioned for a movie, does not have any tattoos, and has never smoked weed.